Friday, July 31, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Here's the clip:
And here's Clements' KO from "TKO 25":
I must say, Clements' KO is a little more entertaining for a few reasons. First, the footage is clearly better. No offense to the fan who captured Ramirez's KO, it's a job well done considering he's in the stands and using a home camera. But it doesn't get the up close shot we could've benefitted from. Secondly, what the hell was Lautaro Tucas doing? He sprinted at Clements with his hands by his side like a pansy, lept in the air with seemingly zero intention of doing anything, then wears a sledgehammer to his face and immediately has his lights turned off. Thricely, the finishing blows when he's clearly unconscious, thus bouncing his head up and down off the canvas, are a terrific watch.
Perhaps Tucas and Wattree should fight each other with the loser being forced into the retirement and the winner being forced into retirement anyway. Both of these guys suck. I actually just knocked out both of them as I posted this blog entry and I didn't even have to get up off the couch.
The one thing that bothers me about the Ramirez KO is that he refused to touch gloves with Wattree. What a bag of douche. As if it's that hard. I know Ramirez touched gloves with him when they first got to the center of the cage, but who does that anyway? You typically do it after the referee instructs you to do so, so figure it out. You've had 12 fights now, make an adjustment. You're not Brock Lesnar and you're not in UFC. You're fighting for Pure Combat 9, which nobody really cares about. So stop being a loser and just touch the guys gloves when you're supposed to instead of showing him up when he made the gesture after receiving your instructions.
But anyway, which of these record breaking KO's is your favorite? Sound off...
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
You don't see another company trying to challenge Madden anymore. That's a lost cause. The NBA has Live and 2k, NHL also has two. Is MMA popular enough to sell 2 games? It comes down to game play, rosters, and year-to-year changes.
The UFC and THQ signed a multi-year contract, therefore if EA comes out with a game of their own, you won't see any of the UFC stars. Not exactly sure how the likes of Tito Ortiz, Andrei Arlovski, Tim Sylvia, and Fabricio Werdum shake out, considering they are no longer in the UFC but are all in the current game, making up 4 of the 80+ fighters.
I have come up with the roster EA would need to be able to compete with the UFC game. Some of these guys may fight in the UFC, but were not in the last game for whatever the reason.
If you're an MMA fan tell me you wouldn't buy this game... (fighter by weight class)
1. Fedor Emelianenko
2. Alistair Overeem
3. Brett Rogers
4. Josh Barnett
5. Alek Emelianenko
6. Paul Buentello
7. Gilbert Yvel
8. Pedro Rizzo
9. Jeff Monson
10. Kimbo Slice
11. Roy Nelson
12. Ben Rothwell
13. Randy Couture*
14. Babalu Sobral
15. Antonio Rogerio Noguiera
16. Vladimir Matyushenko
17. Ricardo Arona
18. Murilio Bustamante
19. Gegard Mousasi
20. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou
21. Vitor Belfort
22. Robbie Lawler
23. Jorge Santiago
24. Melvin Manhoef
25. Ronaldo Souza
26. Matt Lindland
27. Cung Le
28. Paulo Fiho
29. Kazuo Misaki
30. Denis Kang*
31. Chael Sonnen*
32. Frank Shamrock
33. Nick Diaz
34. Jake Shields
35. Jay Hieron
36. Brock Larson
37. Marius Zaromskis
38. Hayato "Mach" Sakurai
39. Jason High
40. Frank Trigg*
41. Nick Thompson
42. Carlos Condit*
43. Joe Riggs
44. Shinya Aoki
45. Joachim Hansen
46. Eddie Alverez
47. Tatsuya Kawajiri
48. Josh Thomson
49. JZ Calvancante
50. Gilbert Melendez
51. Jaime Varner
52. Vitor Ribeiro
53. Mitsuhiro Ishida
54. Takanori Gomi
55. Satoru Kitaoka
56. Donald Cerrone
57. Mike Brown
58. Urijah Faber
59. Jose Aldo
60. Leonard Garcia
*in UFC now, not in game
There's 60 guys right there without any filler, those are top of the line fighters, minus Kimbo but he gives you name recognition.
Gina Carano and Cyborg Santos? Put them in as a woman match? I wouldn't go any further past the two of them.
Also what could help them generate sales and compete/surpass the UFC/THQ model is have unlockable legends... a la the WWF games.
Royce Gracie, Ken Shamrock, Frank if he's not already in, Tank Abbott, Dan Severn, Kevin Randleman, Sakuraba, Mark Hunt, Kimo (He is alive.), Phil Baroni (a legend in his own mind), Bas Rutten, a young Ricco Rodriguez, and whoever else.
In the end, it might be tough without the UFC name, but if they market it right and the game play is a step better, I think they can compete.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Out on his feet, but Zaromskis added a little more damage at the end just to be sure. While we see guys knocked out on their feet from time to time (ala Michael Bisping at UFC 100 just over a week ago), very rarely do we see it a) by the foot and b) with such fluid movement transitioning from a combination with his hands to a devastating leg kick followed by another transition to his hands. It was beautiful and a terrific display of striking by the 10th ranked welterweight in the world.
1. Fedor Emelianeko
2. Brock Lesnar
3. Josh Barnett
4. Frank Mir
5. Antonia Rodrigo Nogueira
6. Randy Couture
7. Alistair Overeem
8. Shane Carwin
9. Cain Velasquez
10. Brett Rogers
Honorable Mention: Andrei Arlovski, Gabriel Gonzaga, Cheick Kongo, Ben Rothwell, Fabricio Werdum, Heath Herring, Aleksander Emelianenko, Mirko Cro Cop, Junior Dos Santos, Roy Nelson
1. Lyoto Machida
2. Quinton “Rampage”
3. Rashad Evans
5. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua
6. Renato “Babalu” Sobral
7. Luis Arthur Cane
8. Rich Franklin
9. Keith Jardine
10. Thiago Silva
Honorable Mentions: Gegard Mousasi, Chuck Liddell, Brandon Vera, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Tito Ortiz, Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, Vladimir Matyushenko, Jon Jones
2. Dan Henderson
3. Gegard Mousasi
4. Yushin Okami
5. Vitor Belfort
6. Robbie Lawler
7. Nate Marquardt
8. Demian Maia
9. Jorge Santiago
10. Yoshihiro Akiyama
Honorable Mention: Michael Bisping, Cung Le, Nick Diaz, Wanderlei Silva, Matt Lindland, Denis Kang, Chael Sonnen, Paulo Filho, Frank Trigg, Patrick Cote, Frank Shamrock, Kazuo Misaki, Chris Leben, Ricardo Almeida, Ronaldo Souza
2. Jake Shields
3. Jon Fitch
4. Thiago Alves
5. Martin Kampmann
6. Josh Koscheck
7. Mike Swick
8. Matt Hughes
9. Paulo Thiago
10. Marius Zaromskis*
Honorable Mention: Carlos Condit, Nick Diaz, Dan Hardy, Marcus Davis, Matt Serra, Nick Thompson, Jay Hieron, Karo Parysian, Frank Trigg
*Winner of the Dream Welterweight Grand Prix
1. BJ Penn
2. Shinya Aoki
3. Eddie Alvarez
4. Kenny Florian
5. Joachim Hansen
6. Satoru Kitaoka
7. Tatsuya Kawijiri
8. Gray Maynard
9. Frankie Edgar
10. Diego Sanchez
Honorable Mention: JZ Cavalcante, Gilbert Melendez, Sean Sherk, Josh Thomson, Clay Guida, Nick Diaz, Joe Stevenson, Roger Huerta, KJ Noons
-The Sports Brief
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
I know it's wrong to poke fun at a guy that served our country and ended up looking like a T-rex because of it, but seriously, do you think HE could reach the friggin plate? They wouldn't even send him to the mound. MLB would leave the batting practice mound 15 feet in front of the rubber and have him roll it in from there with the catcher squatting down 5 feet in front of home plate. He's lucky he can wipe his own ass (can he?), nevermind throw a baseball like a man.
But my most astute observation came when Obama went to greet Stan Musial. Watch the interaction again and tell me that Musial's driver is not a friggin Republican. Have you ever seem someone so disinterested in the fact that the President of the United States is standing 2 feet away? He looked like he truly could not care. For all I know, he's been there, done that. If that's the case, excuse me Billy Big League, no need to show us all up like that. But let's be honest, that's the first time he's ever come within a zip code of the President. By his reaction, or lack thereof, he clearly didn't vote for Obama. In fact, I started to wonder if the guy might have a baretta taped down underneath his seat. Obama almost had to hit the guy to get his attention and shake his hand. Check it out for yourself around the :20 second mark...
And here's GW at Opening Day in Arlington, TX this season...
He threw a dart and filled up the zone. Gotta love the quick windmill stretch before the pitch. Solid stuff. But perhaps his best, and most significant work came on October 30, 2001 at Yankee Stadium. Bush tossed the first pitch before Game 3 of the World Series against Arizona. And not only did he toss a pea in there, but the crowd chanting "USA! USA! USA!" at the end was pretty cool stuff. Regardless of how he was as President, you almost had to love the guy. He's a man's man.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Shannon Gugerty defeated Matt Grice via Submission(Guillotine Choke) at 2:26 in the 1stRound
Tom Lawlor defeated CB Dollaway via Submission(Guillotine Choke) at :55 in the 1stRound
Dong Hyun Kim defeated TJ Grant via Unanimous Decision (30-26, All Three judges)
Jon Jones defeated Jake O’Brien via Submission(Guillotine Choke) at 2:43 in the 2ndRound
Jim Miller defeated Mac Danzig via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Mark Coleman defeated Stephan Bonnar via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Yoshihiro Akiyama defeated Alan Belcher via Split Decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28) in UFC debut
Dan Henderson defeated Michael Bisping via Knockout at 3:20 in the 2ndRound, one of the best knockouts I have ever seen.
Georges St-Pierre defeated Thiago Alves via Unanimous Decision (50-45, 50-44, 50-45) to remain UFC Welterweight Champion
Brock Lesnar defeated Frank Mir via TKO(Strikes) at 1:58 in the 2ndRound to remain UFC Heavyweight Champion
Jon Fitch defeated Paulo Thiago via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) in a live bout that followed the main event.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Brock Lesnar v. Frank Mir - UFC Heavyweight Championship
My pick: Frank Mir by 3rd round submission
If you watched the weigh-in yesterday, Mir looks to be in fantastic shape, the best of this point in his career. Since his most recent comeback, he's a more cerebral, calculated and dedicated fighter than he's ever been, and tonight will be his moment in the spotlight. Utilizing his improved footwork, I look for Mir to pick his spots on his feet and wear down and frustrate Lesnar. By the third round, Lesnar's gas tank will begin to depleet and Mir will take full advantage, pulling guard and submitting Brock to become the undisputed heavyweight champion.
Georges St. Pierre v. Thiago Alves - UFC Welterweight Championship
My pick: St. Pierre by 4th round (T)KO
Alves will give St. Pierre all he can handle early on, but it just simply won't be enough. St. Pierre is the champion for a reason, and he'll do all he can to avoid getting chopped down by the vicious leg kicks of Alves. It will be close after two rounds, but St. Pierre's impressive cardio will come into play, and he'll start to mount a charge in the third round. There, I look for him to press Alves against the cage, wear down his opponent, and set up a fantastic finish in the fourth. He'll score a takedown and work his way to a convincing ground and pound victory, leaving us all wondering if his next move is to middleweight to take on Anderson Silva in a superfight.
Dan Henderson v. Michael Bisping
My pick: Henderson by decision
Bisping is a talented middleweight and will one day challenge for the title. Heck, he may even win it. But it won't happen going through Henderson, not at this point in his career. Hendo knows what he has to do to get another shot at Silva, and he knows what he'll have to do to beat Silva, as well. Throw a few bombs and set up a take down, and stick to his bread and butter ground and pound. That's what he'll do tonight. Bisping may be the quicker, more technical striker, but he reminds me a lot of Joe Calzaghe. Not to compare the two by any means, but within the context of MMA and UFC, that's what I see: a guy with fast hands whose damage comes merely by accumulation of punches, not power. He won't hurt Henderson, but Henderson will hurt him. A few bombs will put Bisping on shaky legs, and Henderson will start landing some takedowns. He'll grind his way to a decision win.
Jon Fitch v. Paulo Thiago
My pick: Fitch by 2nd round (T)KO
Thiago scored a flash knockout over Josh Koscheck and had been getting dominated prior to it. Perhaps it was Koschecks fault for trying to replicate his hellacious KO victory over Yoshiyuki Yoshida last December. Nonetheless, let's not crown Thiago just yet. Fitch is at the top of the sport in his division and he won't make the same mistake as his training partner at AKA. He'll wear down Thiago in the first and pound his way to victory in the second. Overall, a dominant showing by the former title challenger and a fall back to Earth for the promising prospect, who may be in over his head on this one...in fact, I thought he was against Koscheck, but that's what happens with 4oz. gloves. Anything can happen.
Yoshihiro Akiyama v. Alan Belcher
My pick: Akiyama by 1st round submission
Sure, Belcher spoiled the debut of middleweight superstar Denis Kang. But it was a guillotine chock off a takedown attempt. That happens and doesn't necessarily speak to a phenomenal jiu-jitsu game or a dominant performance. I look at it as a guy taking advantage of another man's mistake. Akiyama won't do the same thing. This guy is the real deal, and he should steamroll right through Belcher with a first round submission. Look for Akiyama to be clamoring for a title shot in early to mid 2010.
Mark Coleman (15-9) vs. Stephan Bonnar (13-5)
Bonnar by 3rd round (T)KO
You have to respect everything Coleman has done for the sport and the fact that he's still competing at his age. But the guy has never adjusted to the fact that his gas tank is the size of a walnut. Plus there are rumors circulating that the former heavyweight had a lot of trouble with this cut. This fight should get Bonnar back on track, as he'll avoid an early flurry from Coleman and take it to deeper waters. Watch Coleman's tank run on "E" in the latter half of the fight as Bonnar begins to pick him apart and finish him on their feet.
Mac Danzig (21-6-1) vs. Jim Miller (13-2)
Danzig by 2nd round (T)KO
Everyone is picking Danzig to lose to Miller; everyone is also extremely high on Miller. So am I. But I'm going with a minor upset here. Danzig is a talented fighter, but he needs a win here to stay in the UFC. Miller has a promising, long career ahead of him within this organization. Danzig is motivated, and has the skillset to compete with a lot of talented lightweights. He'll utilize his wrestling and avoid a slew of submission attempts from Miller before working to side control and eventually the mount. GnP win for Mac.
Jon Jones (8-0) vs. Jake O'Brien (11-2)
Jones by spectacular death
Watch Jones masterfully pick apart O'Brien before turning the lights off with an early KO in the second round. It will be a contender for KO of the Night.
Dong-Hyun Kim (11-0-1) vs. T.J. Grant (14-2)
Grant by 2nd round submission
That blemish on Kim's record is a NC against Karo Parysian, a fight which he lost but had overturned after Parysian tested positive for god knows what. Certainly wasn't steroids, look at the guy. Grant is a submission guy, and a talented one at that. He'll work the fight to the ground and eventually lock one in.
C.B. Dollaway (11-2) vs. Tom Lawlor (6-2)
Dollaway by 1st round steamroll submission
Jesus, I'd stand a better chance against Dollaway. Good for Lawlor dropping weight, and he's a great personality and entertaining guy. But this is a showcase fight for Dollaway before they have him take the leap to the next tier of talented fighters in the middleweight division. Lawlor won't stop anything in this fight, most certainly not a takedown and submission quickly in the first.
Matt Grice (9-2) vs. Shannon Gugerty (11-3)
Gugerty by 3rd round submission
This could be your Fight of the Night. Grice can bang, and he got caught in his last fight against Veach and had trouble recovering. But up until that point, he'd been outclassing Veach on his feet. The decision was a disputable one, and you know he'll bring it tonight. But Gugerty has excellent submissions, and I trust has learned a lot from his submission loss to perennial contender Spencer Fisher at UFC 90. These guys will go to war for 2.5 rounds before Gugerty lands on the mat with Matt (like that?) and locks in a fight ending submission.
So there you have it. An excellent card throughout, hopefully we'll get to see some of these preliminaries.
Also, you'll notice on the sidebar that we've posted a link to my Twitter page. My Twitter name is @tbesse29. Keefe may be joining soon, as well, but for now, I'd love to have anyone and everyone following me on Twitter. Tonight I'll be tweeting during the fights, posting results, thoughts on the action and possibly even scoring rounds as they happen. Feel free to check it out, follow me and enjoy the action from your phone, especially if you can't watch the fights anywhere tonight but want updates. And I welcome any and all comments and thoughts on the action as we follow it tonight. Enjoy.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Friday, July 3, 2009
I'm not sure what's more amazing: the fact that he actually did hit it backwards, or that he put it within 5 feet. We've all watched the billiards trick shot competitions on ESPN from time to time (admit it, you have). This makes me want to see one for golf. I'd love to see Phil and Tiger go head to head, although in this case, you may have to favor Phil.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Well the 2009 All-Star game is almost here, and the races are certainly heating up a few positions. I’ve personally always felt that a fan voting system for All-Star starters is flawed, because while there will always be deserving players who don’t make the game, you hate to see guys getting a start when someone far more deserving should be out there. This seems to particularly be the case in 2009, as several positions are being led by players who should not be in such a position. Those individual cases will be address throughout, but below is my assessment of who is most deserving to start the game, make the team as a reserve, and which players are deserving but just miss the cut. I’ve done my best to make judgment calls without emotion or bias towards a particular player. The picks are as objective as one could be in performing a subjective task.
Starter: Justin Morneau
Reserve: Miguel Cabrera
Apologies to: Victor Martinez, Kevin Youkilis, Mark Teixeira, and even Russell Branyan
This position has a ton of depth, perhaps the most of any in the AL. Youkilis’ stock dropped because of some time spent on the DL, but he does lead first basemen in OPS. Teixeira may be clocking homeruns and driving in a plethora of runs, but his low average and the inflated homerun rate at Yankee Stadium don’t help his cause. Morneau continues to fly under the radar. He is my pick as the starter, but I would have no problem reserving him and having Cabrera as the starter. Morneau is showing .313/19/64, which is a damn good line. He was solid in April (.318/5/18) while Mauer was on the DL. And while he had been having a poor month of June, his last couple games in which he homered twice and drove in 3 have put it on par with April. Cabrera, meanwhile, leads the position with a .332 batting average, and he’s sporting 16 homers and 47 RBI (all better than Youk) with punch and judy hitter Magglio Ordonez behind him. And poor Russell Branyan. The guy is batting over .300 and has hit 19 homeruns. Unfortunately his team sucks, and no one is ever on base; 12 of those shots have been solo jacks and he only has 40 RBI. Ridiculous.
Starter: Aaron Hill
Reserve: Robinson Cano
Apologies to: Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler, Brian Roberts
This is an absolute no-brainer. Hill has been ridiculous, and you have to wonder if he’ll slow down at any point. The LSU product, once compared to Garrett Chin (or was it the other way around? Either way, it was inaccurate.) has hit .305, clubbed 19 homers and driven in 56 runs. Who would’ve thought? No one, that’s who. There’s no way anyone ever saw this coming, which makes it even more incredible. And he’s been doing this mostly out of the 2-hole for a team that has been inconsistent both offensively and in the win column.
Cano has been solid with a .300/12/42 line. But he’s dropped off from that fast start he had in April. To me, he should get the nod over Pedroia and Kinsler, who are battling it out for the starting position and I can’t figure out why. Kinsler is hitting .267. Sure he’s got 19 homers, 51 RBI and is 16-18 in stolen bases, but that average is brutal and it just keeps getting worse. Remember when he was hitting .300? Hasn’t been since the middle of May; he’s hitting .245 since the start of May. And Pedroia is having a rather pedestrian season. .287 is nothing to sneeze at, and there’s no power there. His SB success rate is down from last year, as well. Roberts will most likely never be an All-Star again in his career, which is sad because he’s consistently good every single year. This year is no different. Across the board his numbers are better than Pedroia. And yet he’s not even in the top-5 in voting. Hill is currently fourth in the voting, and I’m blown away by that. It’s situations like this where we should realize how flawed the fan voting system is. And that’s not the only one either. Once the starters are announced I’ll have more to discuss on that end.
Starter: Evan Longoria
Reserve: Michael Young
Apologies to: Brandon Inge, Scott Rolen, Chone (Shawn?) Figgins
Another no brainer here, and thankfully justice will most likely be served. Sadly, we’re looking at an All-Star game without A-Rod. Even worse is that he has absolutely no argument to play in this game. Longoria is far and away the best at his position. His average has dropped significantly over the past month (he’s hitting .233 in June), but .300 is where he’ll most likely be come the end of the year. The power numbers are there, and it’s crazy to think that he’s only been in the bigs for a calendar year.
For the reserves, it’s gotta go to Young. The guy made the move from short to third to make room for up and comer Elvis Andrus, the Rangers shortstop of the future. He made no fuss about the transition, and his numbers show how selfless a player he is; they haven’t sputtered. Inge could be just as deserving. While his average is a good 40 points or so below Young, he leads the position in homeruns (18) and has driven in 52 runs. He’s been crushing the ball, and he also leads the BBTN clubhouse on the web gems leaderboard. Rolen and Figgins are quietly having nice seasons as well, but most likely haven’t done enough to warrant a spot in the game.
Starter: Jason Bartlett
Reserve: Derek Jeter
Apologies to: Julio Lugo (kidding), Nick Green (also kidding), Jed Lowrie (still kidding)
Let’s face it: this is a seriously weak position in terms of talent and depth. Sure, Jeter and Bartlett are both having great seasons, but beyond that there’s no one even worth mentioning and still being taken seriously. I looked yesterday and saw that Jeter is 17 for 18 in steals. That’s ridiculous. Where did that even come from? Not to mention he’s hitting .307 with 9 homers and 32 RBI, but he’s one of those guys that should be penciled in to start the All-Star game every year by default unless someone is playing out of this world.
This year just so happens to be that year.
Starter: Joe Mauer
Reserve: Victor Martinez
Apologies to: A.J. Pierzynski
Same situation as shortstop, but even more different. Mauer has been off the chain since he returned in May from the DL. He went on to hit .414/11/32 in the month of May. Right now he sits overall at .383/14/43. Safe to say he’s returned to planet Earth, especially in the power department, but the numbers are still ridiculous.
Apologies to: Curtis Granderson, Adam Jones, Torii Hunter, Nick Markakis, Johnny Damon, Jermaine Dye
I don’t know how many reserves they’ll take, so saying that, I’ll just offer apologies to certain players instead of listing reserves as well.
Torii Hunter may be the most deserving of the reserve candidates to start. He’s having a solid season at .306/17/57, anchoring a lineup that didn’t have Vlad for a while and still doesn’t really have him as he’s brought nothing to the table. Granderson’s average sucks but his power numbers are startling when you look at his wiry frame. Markakis could hit for a little more power but he’s driving in runs and teetering around .300. Jones, meanwhile, has really hit the skids in June, but his overall body of work is impressive. Damon leads the
Since the game is in an NL park this year, the DH position doesn’t work out. Sorry to Adam Lind, who is hitting .312 with 15 homers and 52 RBI. He should make the team as an alternate and certainly get an AB. A guy like Jason Kubel (.308/13/42) kind of gets jobbed here, as well. Another guy that should make the ASG IMO (gay, I know) is Ben Zobrist. At what position? Who knows, who cares. He pretty much qualifies for all 9 of them, so put him wherever you want. But you can’t deny he’s been lights out in the first half, and he didn’t even play regularly until Iwamura went down in late May. At .290/16/46, the guy has been a tremendous pick up for that lineup and their offense hasn’t skipped a beat. He’s 8 for 10 in steals, too.
Starter: Zack Geinke
Reserves: Roy Halladay, Justin Verlander, Kevin Millwood, Felix Hernandez, Edwin Jackson, Cliff Lee
Apologies to: Josh Beckett, Jered Weaver, Tim Wakefield
Since we’re dealing with a lot of names here, I won’t include everyone’s stats, just a brief idea of why I feel they’re deserving. Greinke gets the start, but I feel had Halladay not gone on the DL, he could have warranted it instead. Greinke has an ERA over 4 in the month of June which could have swayed the opinion of those making the decision, Halladay wasn’t great in his return and the overall numbers lean towards Greinke. Verlander has been lights out since a rough April and leads the league in K’s. Millwood has a sub-3 ERA pitching in a park where careers go to die. King Felix is finally realizing his potential, and his last 7 starts are evidence of that.
But if Beckett goes out and tosses a gem against the Orioles today, whom he’s had some trouble dealing with in the past, he could edge out Lee. Like Hernandez, Beckett has been great over his last 7 starts. Just ask Heidi Watney, she’ll tell you all about it. Oh wait, no she won’t, she missed out on that question. Weaver has come out of nowhere to help hold together a pitching staff that started the season with its three best pitchers on the DL. And
Relievers: Jonathan Papelbon, Joe Nathan, Frankie Francisco, David Aardsma, Mariano Rivera
Apologies to: Bobby Jenks, Scott Downs, JP Howell, Joakim Soria
Papelbon, Nathan and Rivera are no surprise. Francisco and Aardsma certainly are. And they’ve earned it. You could argue there are guys with more saves who are more deserving, and the fact that Francisco spent time on the DL and Aardsma took over late after Morrow blew (literally and figuratively). But both have provided such stability to fledgling pitching staffs, that I feel they should be rewarded. Francisco only has 12 saves, but a 1.23 ERA. Aardsma has 16 stops with a 1.49 ERA, and both have only blown one save opportunity.
Jenks gets the shaft because of his ERA, which is above 3. That’s unacceptable. Soria was also on the DL but hasn’t worked as much as Francisco.
Starter: Albert Pujols
Reserve: Prince Fielder
Apologies to: Ryan Howard, Adrian Gonzalez, Todd Helton
Here’s a question: Which league has the better pool of first basemen? Hard to tell in my eyes. The one thing helping the NL is that it has Albert Pujols. Either he or Longoria are the most clear cut choice at a position. His numbers are staggering: .332/30/77 with an OBP of .453 and OPS of 1.197. That’s absolutely ridiculous. The guy is the best hitter in the game currently not suspended.
Fielder is my choice as the reserve over notables such as
Starter: Chase Utley
Apologies to: Freddy Sanchez, Felipe Lopez, Skip Schumaker and Clint Barmes
This is kind of a weak position for the NL, certainly in terms of depth when compared to the
Guys like Sanchez, Lopez Schumaker and Barmes are all having nice seasons, but neither can stack up against Utley, and
Starter: Hanley Ramirez
Reserve: Miguel Tejada
Apologies to: Christian Guzman, Yunel Escobar,
So much for the NL’s “Big Three”. Ramirez is still king, and it’s incredible to see his numbers (.341/13/56) after he got off to such a mediocre start in April. He only had 2 homers and 12 RBI, but a big May really jumpstarted things for him. Jose Reyes has been on the DL for a large part of the season, and Rollins just flat out stinks right now. That leaves us with the former MVP, juicehead and senior citizen Tejada. He’s stroking at .332 right now and has some decent power numbers. The RBI total is second only to Ramirez among shortstops, and he’s tied for second in runs scored, also behind Ramirez.
Guzman is hitting for average like he always does when he’s healthy, but there’s no power there at all. Escobar is having a well rounded season, but the average could use a boost up from .291 to get further consideration.
Starter: David Wright
Reserve: Pablo Sandoval
Apologies to: Ryan Zimmerman, Pedro Feliz, Chipper Jones, Casey Blake, Mark Reynolds
Wow, there’s some serious talent and depth at the hot corner in the NL. I wouldn’t have a problem seeing any of these guys playing in the All-Star game because they’ve all performed well across the board or extremely well in one or two categories. The starter should probably be Wright, but certainly not because of his power. His game has changed in that he doesn’t hit as many homeruns, but he’s hitting .345, has driven in 42 runs and stolen 20, yes that’s right 20, bases. Part of the production problem is the Mets offense being so stagnant these days. Delgado, Beltran, Reyes, et al have had injury troubles, and he’s really the only significant hitter remaining in the lineup. The Mets are trotting out a JV lineup with one kid in the lineup that should be playing on Varsity, let’s look at it that way.
The reserve situation is a little hairy. Sandoval is probably the most deserving, albeit unexpected candidate on the board. If you wanted to get really fussy, you could probably argue he should start over Wright. He’s hitting 40 points higher than Zimmerman, and he only has two less homeruns and four less RBI. Not only that, but his OBP, SLG and OPS are all much, much higher.
Also missing out are a crop of third basemen who are having great starts to 2009. Chipper Jones is off pace from last year’s torrid start in a big way, but by no means are his numbers paltry. Casey Blake came out of nowhere in May to post a .353/4/18 line, which was huge after Manny got suspended. He has cooled off a bit in June but the overall numbers are still extremely respectable. Feliz, meanwhile, hasn’t done much except drive in runs when guys like Utley, Howard and Werth can’t do it…he has been struggling lately, including an 0 for 19 slump after I picked him up in one of my ESPN leagues, but not a bad season so far for a guy buried in a potent Phillies’ lineup. But he’s batting .500 with 2 bombs and 3 RBI in his last 3 games which makes me feel good. Reynolds is turning into Adam Dunn with a higher average, although not by much. This guy drops bombs but strikes out at an alarming rate. Nonetheless, you can’t dispute the guy’s power, it’s legit. Get him in the Homerun Derby
Starter: Brian McCann
Reserve: Yadier Molina
Apologies to: Ugh, I don’t know, Bengie Molina and Chris Iannetta?
I know McCann has missed time and AB’s but the gap between him and the next best catcher is as wide as the
Bengie and Iannetta are the next best options, but if either of those guys start or play in the All-Star game, I’ll no longer watch.
Starters: Ryan Braun, Brad Hawpe, Raul Ibanez
Apologies to: Justin Upton, Carlos Lee, Hunter Pence, Matt Kemp, Carlos Beltran
Couple DL guys here in Ibanez and Beltran. Ibanez should be healthy in time for the game, so he definitely gets a start. The guy is crushing and on pace to dominate any season highs he’s had in the power department. Hawpe is third in RBI, Braun second among outfielders; Ibanez is the leader and he’s been out for two weeks. But Hawpe and Braun find themselves in the top 5 in average, RBI, OBP, SLG and OPS.
Starter: Dan Haren
Reserves: Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Josh Johnson, Yovani Gallardo, Javier Vasquez, Johan Santana
As much as I want Matt Cain to get the nod, it has to go to Haren here, especially after he did it again last night with 7 innings and only 1 run on 4 hits and 9 K’s. It’s fairly obvious. The guy pitches for a shitty team, so his record stinks, but he leads the NL in ERA, IP and WHIP and is second in CG and third in K’s.
The only debate can be issued with the final spot. Does it go to Santana or Billingsley? Much like Torii Hunter winning a Gold Glove every year, I say it goes to Santana just because the numbers are so close and he’s the incumbent. Duke, however, could sneak in as the Pirates pick. Unless that goes to Freddy Sanchez at second base. That will leave someone out who is more deserving.
Relievers: Francisco Rodriguez, Jonathan Broxton, Heath
Apologies to: Brian Wilson,
I don’t know who is more deserving to serve as the “closer” in this game.
So there you have it. Please keep in mind that these stats do not reflect the games played today,